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Architecture of Santiago Calatrava in Valencia

Added: September 19, 2010

Tags: Spain architecture city photos
It was on Zuzka's radar for years. We have to go to Valencia to see amazing buildings Santiago Calatrava designed in Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. Nearly before every bank holiday we checked times and prices of flight tickets and this time we liked what we have found. Apart from small detail that more convenient flight back to Bristol was from Alicante. OK, why not? We can see 2 places in 3 days instead of one.

Weather forecast was favourable (if temperatures over 30°C could be named favourable) only later some web sites suggested it will be raining on Sunday. That had an effect on our plans. We will see whole place from outside on Saturday, then we will go to beach and interiors will be left for Sunday. We need to get to Alicante on Monday, let's go there early in the morning and we can spend more time on beach there. Or to climb the hill with castle (but that is not very probable we would like to do that in hot weather).


The first thing you see when you arrive to Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias is top of opera house Palacio de las Artes Reina Sofía. But the closest piece of architecture you need to pass is L'Umbracle.

There is a park and mechanical dinosaurs for children at the top. It is pretty nice, but we were not interested much. More interestingly it hides car park below, something that is usually ugly and cannot help with overall architecture. But not in this case with glass, flowers and graceful arcs of supporting columns.




El Museo de las Ciencias Príncipe Felipe

It has skeleton-like structure and it looks differently from every angle. I like to take detail photos of buildings like this, because they offer so many possibilities. But I have usually problem with composition of those details, so I am not going to show many.

We passed around more times and it was always different. I had problem to select limited number of photos for each building.


Photo taken from under Umbracle. Just concrete supporting columns and how elegant they can be...



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Inside museum

Whole exposition is done in way you are encouraged to touch or interact with exhibits in different ways. It would be possible to spend there several hours. We did not want to, because it was our 2nd day and our feet started to show signs associated with lot of walking.

I really liked model of Foucault's pendulum, explanation of some optical tricks and to my surprise also Star Trek exposition (without being huge fan).



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We expected a lot from this building. It is surrounded by a pool and when the water is calm it looks a human eye thanks to reflection. We were not rewarded with such a view due to quite strong wind, but still it was very nice. Additionally we did not see another attraction associated with this building - opening the eye. It stayed closed during our visit.

However, we were disappointed in other way. We wanted to see it from inside. This building is IMAX cinema. So we bought tickets, but we were not allowed to see it completely, only underground corridor leading to cinema and we could catch a few glimpses of whole dome when we were leaving. To make it worse experience whole movie sucked (but it was probably our fault, we could select different one...).





Many white surfaces consist from thousands of small white shards, giving it brilliant look.
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Ideal drink to hot weather

It was very hot both days we were around. Fortunately there is very good drink available in this region - Horchata. It is made from tubers known as tiger nuts. It has interesting (and nice) nut flavour, it reminds me slightly taste of fresh coco nut, but nutty taste of Horchata is more pronounced. It is sweet thanks to lot of sugar, but otherwise is it rather healthy. While googling it don't mistake it with Mexican beverage with the same name made from rice and cinnamon. It is different. It also tastes differently in restaurants around Valencia compared to full taste you can get from street sellers.

I regret I did not buy a pack of tiger nuts. They were sold by street sellers together with beverage. But at least I have something to look forward during our next trip to Spain (or to this region) :-)

Palacio de las Artes Reina Sofía

I cannot get rid of a thought that they decided to create Star Trek exposition in the museum when they saw how opera house looked like. At least to me it looked like some star ship.

We did not go inside, just walked around it and had a snack in shade it provided.




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It seemed unfinished at time we've been there (surrounded by walls and landscape looking like building site), so I have only photos from distance together with bridge El Puente de l'Assut de l'Or.

Àgora is huge building, it would be interesting to see it from inside.



City of Arts and Sciences at night

Beautiful buildings surrounded by water nicely lit promise interesting views during night. One reason we found accommodation in walking distance was we wanted to visit it also during night.

We started by visiting night dolphin show in L'Oceanogràfic (it part of complex, but I will write about it in following post). I was not surprised I did not get any decent photo of dolphins due to dim light, but I was nicely surprised how good photos of architecture I got considering they were either hand-held or with help of some handrail.